As perfect as it gets

As perfect as it gets

I always regret that I cannot be a perfect editor, although I aim for perfection.That’s why I use “PerfectIt,” software from Intelligent Editing that states on its website that it “is the fastest way to find consistency mistakes.” Sure enough, it checks for consistency of hyphenation; capitalization; numbers/words; capitalization in headings; abbreviations and acronyms (definitions/spelling);… Continue Reading

I get it: Being edited is hard on a writer’s ego

I get it: Being edited is hard on a writer’s ego

As a freelance editor, I spend a lot of time changing authors’ texts. That’s my job. It wasn’t until I experienced the editing process firsthand before publishing my book, Business Matters, that I truly realized what other authors may know: It’s hard on the ego to be edited. When I saw the edits, I didn’t… Continue Reading

Please

Please

Recently, I participated in an online group discussion with fellow tech communicators expressing their views about the topic of using the word “please” at the beginning of procedural steps. You probably read procedures when you install software or use a product for the first time: Rotate the left housing as illustrated. Push the OPEN button… Continue Reading

Mind your “WEs” and “YOUs”

Mind your “WEs” and “YOUs”

I received two “you” messages recently. The first shows how NOT to use the “you” message: A client snarled, “What part of “no” don’t you understand?” (Really. I quit the contract immediately.) The second was an offer from my favorite airline, apologizing for a recent flight delay of three hours and offering me 5000 free… Continue Reading

BIG help for a BIG document

BIG help for a BIG document

Against your will or better judgment, you may find yourself writing a BIG document (more than, say, 20 pages, possibly written over several weeks or months). BIG writing projects require you first to manage yourself; then manage your text; and finally, manage your technology. Managing yourself Self-discipline will help you survive and thrive on a… Continue Reading

Are you drowning in jargon?

Are you drowning in jargon?

My son’s voicemail said: “Hi, Mom. I’m in Minnie, on my way to Indy. I passed my FO. Call me after 7; up to then, I’ll be in the box.” Hello??? One short message, four uses of airline jargon. This message certainly was concise, but it wasn’t clear to me and therefore not complete. Bruce… Continue Reading

I am a writer. You are a writer, too.

We are all writers

Think you’re not a writer? Then read Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content by Ann Handley. You’ll probably agree with Handley that we are all writers and we should therefore be the best writers we can be. I applaud the clear and logical structure of her book; its six main sections are:… Continue Reading

How to make your words clear

How to make your words clear

Which would you rather read, and why? Entities are satisfactory that terminate satisfactorily. OR All’s well that ends well. I thought so! I’d rather read the second version, too. It’s easier and faster to process a shorter word than a longer word. And that’s especially true for those who read English as their second language.… Continue Reading